Very popular macOS app turned out to contain spyware

Very popular macOS app turned out to contain spyware

A number of apps have been found in the MacOS App Store that are used to spy on consumers and steal their data. The apps have been removed by Apple, but would have been very popular.

Security firm Malwarebytes reported this yesterday. Security researcher Patrick Wardle also wrote an extensive blog about it. One of the apps that turned out to be full of spyware is the Adware Doctor. The app claims to be the best option for removing adware targeting MacBooks. However, the app collects data about the user, including browser history, and sends that data to a server in China.

Commonly used spyware

The fact that spyware somehow finds its way to the App Store is not surprising. But most of these applications are rather obscure and little-used. The opposite is true for Adware Doctor. Before the app was uninstalled by Apple, it was macOS’ fourth most popular paid app in the App Store. It is therefore likely that millions of people will be affected.

Other apps that contain similar spyware are the following:

  • Adware Medic: a predecessor of Adware Doctor with almost exactly the same possibilities to steal data.
  • Open Any Files: provides support for opening compromised files. The app is said to have stolen similar private data for several months last year.
  • Antivirus: would also have stolen browser history, as well as lists of all apps installed on a device.
  • Cleaner: steals data in the same way as Dr. Antivirus.

According to 9to5Mac, the Dr. Unarchiver app also has similar features. In addition, there would be more spyware apps, which according to 9to5Mac have been distributed by Trend Micro. The apps can no longer be found in the App Store. It cannot be confirmed that Trend Micro has a role to play.

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.